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They queued for four hours in advance to meet the man who is without a doubt a true Limerick legend.
Coinciding with the release of his much-anticipated autobiography, Paul O’Connell signed copies of his book, The Battle, in O’Mahony’s Bookshop .
Over 500 people queued for hours to meet former rugby legend Paul O’Connell at his book signing in Limerick city this past Sunday, eager to get a signed copy of his book The Battle.
The book signing was due to begin at 2pm, however after The Battle author observed images of the lengthy queues on I Love Limerick’s social media, he arrived early so as not to disappoint fans on his home ground in the Treaty City.
Even before he was due to meet his legions of fans, he had planned to sign more than 200 copies of The Battle, which were pre-ordered by customers who couldn’t attend the signing.
The Battle was co-written with Alan English, former editor of the Limerick Leader and current editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which own the Leader. He also attended the signing along with many family members.
I had the honour of interviewing Paul at the book signing. With typical modesty, when asked how he felt about the phenomenal turnout, he joked that the book might be an easy Christmas present for people, as many queued to purchase several books for friends and family members.
The former Munster, Ireland and Lion’s captain described The Battle as “the full story. I think it’s very honest and I hope people will enjoy it,” he said.
I asked him what exactly was ‘The Battle’ he faced, he revealed, “the battle was mainly with myself, the injuries, playing high-pressure games, trying to win things, trying to be successful,” and told me, “blaming myself when we lost a game made me better.”
I asked him how it felt to be so loved by the people of Limerick, “I am very proud of my Limerick roots. I love living here, the sense of humour the people have, what a great place to live.”
I admire Paul so much, not just for his sporting achievements, but for his soul. Paul is a man who is truly proud of our beautiful city as he has said himself on numerous occasions and proved undoubtedly over the years through his involvement with positive campaigns and charity work. Congrats Paul. All of Limerick are rooting for you!
On Thursday, September 29, Niall Breslin aka Bressie, a role model and advocate for mental health in Ireland gave a talk on mental health and well being at the Castletroy Park Hotel. The Bressie talk at Casteltroy Park Hotel was a huge success with a full house of around 400 people listening to his keynote speech.
Bressie is an Irish musician and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer and Leinster Rugby player. Breslin found success as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter with pop band The Blizzards, as a co-writer and producer with XIX Entertainment and as a solo artist. He was the winning coach on the first and third seasons of The Voice of Ireland.
Before the Bressie talk at Castletroy Park Hotel, Bressie spoke with I Love Limerick correspondent Holly Kenny about mental health and well-being on a variety of topics such as, the evolution of Mental Health in Ireland, the connection between physical and mental health, how music and creativity help when battling anxiety and depression and the next step for the progression of mental health services in Ireland.
When asked about his own role models for mental health in the 90’s, Bressie spoke about how mental health was misunderstood, “Things I remember quite acutely, one of our heroes growing up would have been Kurt Kobain and when he took his own life all of us in school were asking the teachers ‘what happened?’. I mean, we didn’t understand what suicide was.”
The conversation turned to the importance of embracing the talents and passions of an individual. Bressie spoke about his own musical history with his band ‘The Blizzards’, “When I play an instrument, I’m not thinking about anything else. Whether it’s piano, guitar or I’m writing music, you go into the present which is the holy grail for anybody. If you can be present, you can actually embrace the moment and not worry about the past or the future – and that’s a cliché thing to hear but until you do things that you love or are passionate about, that’s when you will truly understand.”
Following the interview, the I Love Limerick team sat to listen to the speakers for the evening. The first speaker, Jen Ronan from See Change Ireland, gave a humorous speech about her past and complications she endured when dealing with her mental health issues over the years. Considering it was her first time doing public speaking, Jen stole the hearts of the crowd with her endearing, quirky personality.
After Jen’s speech, Bressie came up on the stage to talk about the spectrum of Mental Health while also touching on some political issues regarding the need for more governmental mental health resources.
Bressie spoke about growing up with anxiety and the difficulties of getting support and the pressure of presenting yourself in a positive light even though you’re going through hell on the inside. He also spoke about the importance of being good to your body and how that can reflect on your mental health. After changing his diet, eating healthier and staying away from alcohol his anxiety improved. He also spoke about the importance of facing your fear when trying to overcome anxiety by telling a story about his fear of swimming, and how he confronted it by learning how to swim and signing up for an open water swimming competition.
He said that schools needing to embrace young people’s talents instead of pushing them to do courses that they don’t want to do.
Lastly, Bressie gave five simple tips for the audience to practice at home for 10 days.
First, stay away from toxic people and environments.
Second, practice self-compassion.
Third, say 30 thank you’s from when you wake up and be grateful for life.
Fourth, have 30 mindful moments a day, pay attention to the little things in life, the comfort of a cup of tea or how snug you feel in a blanket.
Last but not least, stop judging people, because you have no idea what that people could be really going through.
Follow Bressie on Twitter here.
Visit Bressie’s Mental Health website A Lust for Life here.
For more news on Mental Health in Limerick from I Love Limerick click here.
The Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016 took place Saturday, September 24. The aim of the walk was to raise awareness of this rare neurological condition as well as raise some funds towards research for a cure.
Maia Malone, a 9-year-old girl from county Limerick suffers from this rare neurological disorder. As a result of the condition Maia has severe daily seizures, which are not tamed by medication, she also suffers from gastrointestinal problems, visual difficulties, sleep disturbances, apraxia, bruxism, and she cannot talk or look after herself. Maia needs around the clock care by her family and those around there.
All members of the public were welcome to take part in the Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016 which started at 1pm on Saturday September 24. The group gathered in Limerick’s People’s Park at the tree planted at last year’s event before walking to Arthur’s Quay and returning to the park. Participants were provided with a wish ribbon that they can place on the tree at the beginning of the event.
Speaking at the event Maia’s Mum, Jonna said: “By raising awareness we are hoping that when people know more about CDKL5 and more doctors hear more about it, other children will get to be diagnosed sooner than Maia, Maia was four years of age before she got the diagnosis. The diagnosis has helped us to understand Maia’s condition a bit better.”
“We are raising a little bit of funds today but that is not the main point of today, today is about awareness raising but the funds that are raised will go towards research for the condition. In Europe, they are doing very positive research about protein replacement therapy that maybe will be a cure for the condition, at the moment there isn’t one; but in time. Any money raised today will go towards funding the research.”
“When more people know about the condition it might be easier to have the diagnosis received quicker for other children. In this world, you have to shout for help if your child has a disability. By having the awareness that this is what our lives are like, it makes it a little easier.”
Another mother from Limerick named Graznya Musial whose four-year-old daughter Malgosia also suffers from the condition attended the event and said, “My daughter needs 24-hour care and it’s really reassuring that there are other families in similar situations to us.”
Both mothers have daughters with CDKL5 and met through the Irish CDKL5 Facebook page and met for the first time in person on the day of this year’s walk.
Also in aid of CDKL5 is ‘The Ultimate Firewalk’ that takes place in Bray, Co. Wicklow on September 30, just one week after the annual CDKL5 walk in Limerick.
CDKL5 is a rare X-linked genetic disorder that results in early onset, difficult to control seizures, and severe neuro-developmental impairment. CDKL5 is classed as rare disease however, more and more children and indeed adults are being diagnosed every day.
The CDKL5 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is essential for normal brain development. Although little is known about the protein’s function, it may play a role in regulating the activity of other genes, including the MECP2 gene (or Rett Syndrome). The CDKL5 protein acts as a kinase, which is an enzyme that changes the activity of other proteins by adding oxygen and phosphate atoms (a phosphate group) at specific positions. Researchers have not yet determined which proteins are targeted by the CDKL5 protein.
Most children affected by CDKL5 suffer from seizures that begin in the first few months of life. Most cannot walk, talk or feed themselves, and many are confined to wheelchairs, dependent on others for everything. Many also suffer with scoliosis, visual impairment, sensory issues and various gastrointestinal difficulties. As time has gone on it appears that there might be other symptoms that play a role in the condition.
Ten years ago, Professor John Christodoulou led an Australian research team that studied the DNA of three children from the same family and found a common genetic abnormality occurring on a gene that would later become known as CDKL5. His research was published in the prestigious journal, The American Journal of Human Genetics 2004. Glyn was one of the three children at the focus of Dr. Christodoulou’s study.
Glyn’s Legacy was in his DNA, which helped scientists to begin to identify what we now refer to as a CDKL5 Disorder. Unfortunately, Glyn passed on June 17, 1997, before his disease-causing gene was discovered, but his tragic, short life had an important impact on the children who have since been diagnosed with the same devastating disorder.
While you wait for Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016, check out our YouTube coverage of the Limerick CDKL5 Awareness Walk 2015 below.
Limerick LGBTI Pride Festival 2016 got under way last week with a number of special events held for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in the city, as well as the wider Limerick public.
As always, there was an educational aspect to the Limerick LGBTI Pride Festival 2016. Support meetings will be held throughout the week for youth, adult and transgender groups.
The main event, of course, was the annual Limerick Pride parade, which kicked off last Saturday from City Hall.
The theme of this year’s festival was #UnitedColoursofLimerick and the Parade was led by Broden Giambrone, the chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. Broden brought many friends from Dublin and after the Parade made an inspirational speech at PrideFest 2016, a showcase of local LGBT culture, held in a beautiful marquee on the grounds of the Hunt Museum.
In 2015, Ireland saw the Marriage Equality Referendum passed as well as a Bill on Gender Recognition; Broden said that although these are welcome changes and are massive steps in LGBTI history in Ireland there is still a lot to be done. Broden says there is a need for hate-crime legislation, increased supports nationally and the revision of the Gender Recognition Act to include all members of the trans community.
“More broadly increased positive visibility is what we need, that is what changes people’s views. Legislation is important but we need to show that as trans people, we are part of Irish society, we are your siblings, your co-workers, your friends, we are your family. We are one element, one aspect of human diversity.”
Pride festivals are a celebration of history, community and acceptance said Broden, who also believes it is the perfect platform to educate society on the LGBTI community, “A lot of people at Pride come from within the community, but you also get a lot of friends, families and allies coming as well, so it is the perfect platform to be talking about these issues and the diversity of the LGBTI community.”
“Being trans is part of the human condition, we should be able to accept that and celebrate it like we do all diversities. Positive visibility is a big part; supporting people in being able to live true to who they are.”
I was honoured that Broden said yes when I asked him to be the Grand Marshall for this years Limerick Pride. There is a need for LGBTI Pride festivals, as long as others in the global LGBTI community are not as fortunate as us in Ireland in terms of equal human rights. We must take a stand for human rights for all. That’s why our theme this year is #UnitedColoursofLimerick. We want Pride to be an inclusive, open and integrated event welcoming all people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation, religion or race. This year we aimed to put the T back into LGBTI, with a focus specifically on advancing the rights and equality of trans people and their families and we succeeded admirably. It was thrilled to be able to see transgendered people walking through the streets of Limerick with the people of Limerick put on the streets waving them on with love.
The Limerick Pride LGBTI Festival 2016 took place starting on Monday July 11 until Sunday July 17 with the Parade on Saturday July 16 and featured a multitude of events from workshops, support meetings and discussions to evenings of music and club nights, to cater to the Pride needs of everyone.
A Day in May photograph exhibition was launched in The Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street on Monday, July 11 to coincide with Limerick LGBTI Pride.
Limerick Pride’s official Launch night was on Monday July 11 and finished off in Strokers Gay Bar on William Street with champagne, finger food and dance floor musical treats. Strokers are opening 7 nights during Pride to offer something different on every night of Pride.
On Tuesday July 12 from 1pm to 4pm, Strokers Gay Bar hosted a Trans Workshop. Whether you’re interested in learning to put on make up, pick out high heels or how to create a realistic beard, this was a very special event. Experts were there to show all who attended the skills you need to present in your gender.
On Wednesday July 13, the Pride Wedding Show, a wedding fair established in 2014 as part of Limerick Pride Festival, took place from 6pm to 8pm, venue TBD. Sharon McMeel, an award winning wedding planner, said about the fair: “We’ll have different suppliers and vendors there, so all couples regardless of their sexual orientation will have a good opportunity to get answers to their important questions if they are considering getting married. With the historic ‘Yes’ vote last year for the marriage referendum, it’s great to be able to look out for all the people who have gotten newly engaged.”
Wednesday after the Pride Wedding Show, Cobblestone Joes was home to the Limerick Pride Open Mic night. The inclusive atmosphere of one of Limericks top music venues was the perfect fit for the #UnitedColoursofLimerick theme with all singers and musicians welcome for this fantastic music celebration.
On Thursday July 14, Mezz Ladies Night at the Red Hen saw the comeback of the hottest night for girls who like girls with a prosecco reception, DJ and late bar with free admission.
On Friday, July 15 the now traditional event ‘T’was the night before Pride’ took place at Mickey Martins from 9pm-11.30pm. Running since 2008, Mickey Martins returned for another year to host the pre-pride party with guest DJ Aoife Nic Canna. Afterwards it was off to Club Milk’s 3rd Birthday Bash with DJ Gary G.
The annual Limerick LGBTI Pride parade began on Saturday July 16, and brought some extra colour and music to Limerick City Centre, gathering at City Hall at 1.30pm, the Parade made its way at 2.30pm sharp up O’Connell Street, across Mallow Street to Henry Street, past Arthurs Quay Park and returned to the Hunt Museum for PrideFest 2016.
PrideFest 2016 was a showcase of local LGBT culture in Limerick in a lavish marquee in the museum gardens with host Paul Ryder, with special guests Hands in Harmony Deaf Community Choir and back by popular demand Patrick James, Voice of Ireland 2015 winner. Limerick legend, actor, director and playwright, Myles Breen held his annual tea dance, which for many is a highlight of the festival.
That night after Pridefest, the main Climax Party at Dolan’s Warehouse, featured Queens of Limerick, Madonna Lucia and Sheila Fitzpatrick taking to the stage with local acts and with the Dublin queens of “Dragged Up” including Gala award entertainer of the year Victoria Secret, Paul Ryder, Regina George and Pixie, followed by DJ Ruth on the main floor, a “Saved by the 90s” party upstairs and Madonna Lucia hosting her monthly party at Confessions with DJ Bugsy. Three rooms packed with colour, vibrancy and music for all.
On Sunday, June 17, a Prideful Recovery Event was held at GOSHH, 18 Davis Street from 1pm – 5pm with holistic therapies including Reiki, Tarot and angel card readings.
A full line-up for Pride week can be found at www.LimerickPride.ie with updates at www.facebook.com/limerickpride. Tag your photos and comments about this years Pride with #UnitedColoursofLimerick.
For media inquires contact [email protected].
To check out all the updates on Limerick LGBTI Pride Festival 2016 click here.
For more news stories about Pride from I Love Limerick click here.
The excitement is building up as the countdown for the ECOC jury panel’s review of Limerick on Tuesday, July 12 starts coming closer. Limerick has got one last chance to push the city’s European Capital of Culture Limerick 2020 bid with a spectacular street party to celebrate the magical journey of the campaign.
While the ECOC jury panel reviews the city and the cultural institutions, thousands of the city’s citizens will get to indulge themselves in culinary delicacies, art and musical culture. The event will start up around midday and finish in the evening.
The public will be treated to various events including the Culture and Chips food carnival on O Connell Ave from noon onwards, a taste of international cuisine with the World Recipe Exchange, and lots of gatherings at venues such as the Hunt Museum, Howley’s Quay and O’Connell Street’s urban garden.
Daniel O’Connell’s whole block on upper O’Connell Street between Hartstonge Street and Barrington Street (the area known as The Crescent in the Georgian Quarter) will become party central as Culture & Chips Takes To The Streets from noon until evening.
If Limerick succeeds, it will indeed be historic. It’ll also be – according to estimates – worth around €170m to the city. Limerick won’t get to enter the European Capital of Culture again for another 15 years so that’s also why there is such a huge push to try and succeed.
The Limerick 2020 bid team makes its final presentation to the panel at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on July 14 and the winner being announced the following day. It’s a tough competition as Limerick competes against Galway, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny for the title.
Bid director Mike Fitzpatrick said that now is “the right time” for Limerick to earn the prestigious title. “Limerick is aware that the jury is in town, but it’s not about the jury; it is about having a moment to say, ‘Look how far we have come’ in terms of how culture has formed part of everyday life in Limerick. Whatever happens on July 15, whatever the decision is, culture will remain at the centre of what we do. It has given us so much confidence and belief in ourselves.”
Bid deputy director, Sheila Deegan, said the festive day “may go down as one of the most important days for the city.”
“Win or lose with the Limerick 2020 bid, we have achieved an awful lot and it is time to celebrate so we are asking that as many people as possible to turn out and enjoy this party with us. The journey has awakened a real sense of cultural identity in Limerick and a wider awareness of just how rich, diverse and talented our cultural heritage is. We were Ireland’s first City of Culture and we certainly showed over the course of that magical year just how much Limerick has found its cultural voice and it is now singing from the rooftops.”
Read more about Limerick 2020 here
Follow Limerick 2020 on Twitter here
A variety of FREE cycling inspired events will take place across Limerick for BeSPOKE 2016, Limerick Smarter Travel’s cycling festival between 11th-19th June 2016, it was announced today (Tuesday).
For the second year running individuals and groups from schools, communities, campuses and workplaces have the opportunity to avail of funding to help them run their own cycling inspired event. Limerick’s ‘Bike Week – Event Fund’ will see 18 groups receive financial support to independently run their own BeSPOKE 2016 event. Event fund winners include: Milford N.S., St. Pauls N.S., Shanagolden VTOS, Team Adare Cycling Club, Extern Foster Care, Cook Medical, Wild Atlantic Sports, Cycle4Sick Children, Johnson & Johnson, West End Youth Space, Northside Youth Space, Southill Area Centre, Northern Trust, Southside Youth Space, Sophie’s Journey Foundation, Limerick Milk Market, Mary Immaculate College, & Kileedy GAA.
The highlight event from Limerick Smarter Travel will take place on Sunday June 12th with registration from two o’clock with the ‘Riverside Family Cycle’ starting at the Irish Estates, passing through the Shannon Fields before turning down the Park Canal and ending at O’Brien’s Park in Clare Street. The family-friendly cycle will be immediately followed by a ‘Party in the Park’ where there will be entertainment for everyone including;
Ireland’s first ‘Cycle Trials’ competition, with 4 class categories from novis to intermediate, hosted by Sean Putt, one of Ireland’s elite cycle trials riders.
The 1916|2016 ‘Best in Show’ competition for cyclists and bicycles from 1916 or 2016, hosted by Richard Lynch, RichardKnows& ILoveLimerick.com
Family music, games, entertainment and refreshments
Elite Cycle Trials rider Sean Putt, said he’s looking forward to bringing the ‘cycle trials’ event to life, the first of its kind in Ireland.
“The event will include three competitive classes, Expert, Intermediate and Beginner, there will be a Novis class for anyone wishing to give cycle trials a go for the very first time on the day,” he said. “The event is being supported by Cycling Ireland, The Hub Bike Shop, National Bike Week, Limerick City and County Council as well as Limerick Smarter Travel. Trophies and prizes for winners will be sponsored by The Hub. We will also be having a ‘cycle trials taster session’ at ‘The Hub’ bike shop on June 5th part of The Hub’s Sean Kelly Charity Cycle and Family BBQ, do come along to get some one-to-one trials advice, to have a practice trial, or to pre-register for the trials competition on the 12th June,” he added.
Speaking following today’s announcement, Richard Lynch, said: “Between the 11th and 19th of June there are a wide variety of BeSPOKE events taking place across Limerick, a celebration and promotion of all that’s great about bikes and cycling, there really is something for everyone. Find out whats happening near you and your family. The ‘Riverside Family Cycle’ and ‘Party in the Park’ will form part of the State Centenary Programme to remember 1916, reflect on the republic 100 years on and reimagine our shared future. The cycle and party will have a 1916|2016 theme and include a ‘Best in Show’ competition, with judges and prizes for those entering their outfits/bicycles in the 1916 or 2016 categories. Do dress up, take part and have fun with friends and family! ” he added.
Donal Brennan, Senior Engineer, Limerick City and County Council commented: We hope to see as many people as possible out and about on their bikes enjoyed the fun-filled week of events during Limerick’s Cycling Festival. The BeSPOKE 2016 events form a very important time in our annual calendar, working with the Limerick community to creatively highlight the positives of cycling not just for recreation but as an integral part of each persons daily travel routine.”
For further information:
Web: Search ‘BeSPOKE’ at www.LimerickSmarterTravel.ie
Lolas Ball, an evening to remember Lola Jane Nagle took place this past Saturday in the Greenhills Hotel in aid of ACT for Meningitis. Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick was honoured to host the event with his good friend Leanne Moore and the night was very emotional, filled with love and a huge success!
On April 15 last year one family’s whole world was turned upside down when they tragically and suddenly lost their precious little girl Lola, aged just 17 months, to meningitis. Nothing could have prepared them for the devastation that losing a child would cause. Since then the family have worked tirelessly to prevent another family from going through their nightmare. Lola’s family wants to ensure that no one faces the meningitis journey alone.
Last June, an unbelievable crowd gathered today the AllStar Ink tattoo parlour, in Limerick City, for a Lola Nagle ACT for Meningitis Fundraiser. €19,924.28 was raised after a number of people donated money, or paid to get butterfly tattoos, in aid of the ACT for Meningitis organisation.
“We never thought meningitis would affect us but it did,” says event organiser and Lolas sister, the inspirational 17 year old Leah Melling. “We organised this ball to remember our beautiful little butterfly Lola, and to raise funds, but also to raise awareness of Meningitis because knowing the signs and symptoms may just save a life. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the people of Limerick.”
ACT for Meningitis is a national meningitis support and awareness charity based in Galway. Set up in 2011 by Siobhan and Noel Carroll following the loss of their 4-year-old daughter Aoibhe to this devastating disease. ACT for Meningitis aims to raise awareness, promote education and provide free support to anyone in Ireland affected by meningitis.
Entertainment was provided by Voice of Ireland contestant Niall O’ Halloran, Ciara Meade, lead singer of the well-known Limerick band Funk Junkies, MizDrea, Tiny Giants and upcoming singer songwriter Aaron Hackett, magician Steve Spade and comedienne Al Foran. Guests then danced the night away with DJs Ian McLoughlin and Party Marty.
People, who did not attend the ball, can still make a difference and offer their support to ACT for Meningitis.
Support Act for Meningitis here
Find Lolas Ball on Facebook
Read more on the I Love Limerick site here
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